state employees

Two hundred 24 of 296 state employees who applied for the “Voluntary Separation Plan” have been accepted.

This is the second year of that volunteer program.

The state employees who were accepted had two options.

"The first option was for the worker to receive three months of wages and the cost of health insurance paid out in a lump sum," said Human Resource Management Services interim director Becky Sicble. "The second option keeps them 'on the payroll' for three months after they separate, so they get paid the same as if they were coming to work, but they're not."

The state Employee Compensation Commission is recommending state workers receive what amounts to two percent pay raises in each year of the 2019-2021 biennium.

State budget director Joe Morrissette chairs that Commission. He said the recommendation is to hand out the raises based on performance.

"It would be in a range of one to three percent to each employee, based on actual performance," Morrissette said in an interview.

In addition, one percent would be added in the first year to address compression issues.

The Legislative Procedures and Arrangements Committee is now on-record supporting pay raises for state employees.

The Committee approved a proposal to give Legislative branch employees two percent raises each year of the upcoming biennium.

Senate Appropriations Committee chairman Ray Holmberg (R-Grand Forks) made the motion to put money for those raises in the branch’s budget proposal.

"We are sending a message," Holmberg said in an interview. "The Legislature feels state employees deserve a pay raise."

The President of an organization representing state employees is happy to hear talk about pay raises for state employees in the next two year budget cycle.

State employees 'concerned' about budget cuts

Jan 26, 2016

The president of North Dakota United says state employees who are members of the organization are concerned about what might happen when state agencies are ordered to cut spending.

A slowdown in oil and agriculture will likely cause Governor Dalrymple to order budget allotments – that will be at least 2 ½ percent for general fund agencies That has to happen before Dalrymple can use the budget stabilization fund to cover other shortfalls.

"Right now, there's an awful lot of talk," said ND United president Nick Archuleta. "It's not based on facts just yet."

A special committee has been appointed to try and resolve the House and Senate disagreements over the budget for the Public Employees Retirement System.

The committee will meet next Monday, June 8th, in the Harvest room in the Capitol. Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson) will chair the committee. He says it’s an attempt to find common ground before the Legislature has its reconvened session, tentatively scheduled June 16th.

The state Senate has unanimously killed a bill that would affect how the insurance company for state employee health insurance is selected.

The House has passed a bill to allow state employees to use earned sick leave for the birth or adoption of a child.

It had earlier passed both chambers – but differences in the versions led to a conference committee.

The bill would allow both parents to take up to six weeks of sick leave in that instance.

Rep. Vernon Laning (R-Bismarck) urged his House colleagues to kill the bill.

The chairman of the Public Employees Retirement System board is defending the board’s decision to select Sanford Health as the state’s new insurance carrier.

Sanford replaces Blue Cross-Blue Shield, who had the contract for 37 years.

The chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee says his panel will take another look at the pay plan for state employees.

Early in the session – House and Senate budget writers agreed on a “three and three” plan – where state workers would get pay raises that average three percent per year. Governor Dalrymple had proposed a “four and four” plan – with the extra one percent to go towards retirement.

The original pay plan included money for market equity adjustments. That money was removed. But that may change.